Residuos Mentales -
A Temporary State Of Bliss

(CD 2023, 43:52, OOB Records)

The tracks:
  1- The Stuff Of Dreams(17:02)
  2- The Missing Part(5:35)
  3- A Series Of Self-Correcting Errors(12:03)
  4- Impending Catastrophe(9:12)

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Residuos Mentales is an instrumental progressive rock studio project based in Athens, which started in 2012 and consists of Stratos Morianos (Verbal Delirium) on keyboards, synthesizers, strings and percussion plus Alexandros Mantas on guitars, flute and bass. After several years of developing their compositional style the pair joined forces with several guest artists in 2018 to produce their debut album entitled Introspection (see review). In 2023, after a five-year absence from the music scene, Residuos Mentales signed with OOB Records and returned with a second album named A Temporary State Of Bliss featuring guest musicians on guitar, drums, saxophone, flute, vocals, acoustic guitar and bass.

I am not familiar with the debut album so this is my first musical encounter with Residuos Mentales, I am very pleasantly surprised, what a varied, dynamic and adventurous music, this is a musical journey in the genuine progrock tradition! The four compositions (between 5 and 18 minutes) deliver lots of shifting moods and surprising musical ideas, strong work on guitar and keyboards, a splendid rhythm-section and an interesting contribution by a wide range of guest musicians.

The album kicks off with the long composition The Stuff Of Dreams (17:02) starting with a long electronically inspired intro (sequencing and beeps and bleeps), wonderful, it sounds spacey but powerful. Then twanging electric guitar and the distinctive bass synthesizer sound, gradually the music turns more into lush and bombastic (from awesome Mellotron choirs to acoustic rhythm guitar and Minimoog) sound, culminating in a mid-tempo beat, very melodic and harmonic, topped with a sensitive electric guitar solo. In the second part a more experimental sound with bombastic eruptions, heavy guitar layers and theatrical choirs. And finally a mellow climate with tender electric guitar. Wow, what a start!

Then the short The Missing Part (5:35) featuring tender piano and electric guitar, evoking Camel. Halfway a trumpet joins, blended with moving electric guitar, in a slow rhythm.

Next the long track A Series Of Self-Correcting Errors (12:03), the band surprises with an ominous atmosphere, coloured with repetitive guitarwork (Fripperian), then a heavy outburst with electric guitar, inspired by the King Crimson Red-era, lots of musical twists and turns, very compelling and hypnotizing. Then the music shifts to dreamy with beautiful Mellotron violins, piano and synthesizers, and a moving guitar solo, now the more experimental/avant-garde King Crimson sounds as an inspiration. In the end a howling solo with Mellotron violins, goose bumps. At some moments the band reminds me of the Italian legend Il Balletto Di Bronzo (Ys album).

And finally the mid-long composition Impending Catastrophe (9:12) that starts dreamy with tender electric piano and saxophone. Then a funky rhythm with a tight beat, turning into bombastic with powerful interplay, a propulsive rhythm-section and lush synthesizers. The second part delivers lots of changing atmospheres, from dreamy and a slow rhythm to mid-tempo and sumptuous eruptions. What a dynamic and varied sound, embellished with classical orchestrations, sparkling Grand piano, fat Minimoog flights and in the end church organ sound.

Highly recommended!

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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